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Afghanistan's Endless War: State Failure, Regional Politics, by Larry P. Goodson

By Larry P. Goodson

Going past the stereotypes of Kalashnikov-wielding Afghan mujahideen and black-turbaned Taliban fundamentalists, Larry Goodson explains during this concise research of the Afghan conflict what has fairly been taking place in Afghanistan within the final twenty years.

Beginning with the explanations at the back of Afghanistan’s lack of ability to forge a robust nation -- its myriad cleavages alongside ethnic, spiritual, social, and geographical fault traces -- Goodson then examines the devastating process the warfare itself. He charts its utter destruction of the rustic, from the deaths of greater than 2 million Afghans and the dispersal of a few six million others as refugees to the total cave in of its financial system, which at the present time has been changed by way of monoagriculture in opium poppies and heroin construction. The Taliban, a few of whose leaders Goodson interviewed as lately as 1997, have managed approximately eighty percentage of the rustic yet themselves have proven expanding discord alongside ethnic and political strains.

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Certain tribes, such as the Afridi who controlled the Khyber Pass, were especially able to benefit from this policy. Of course, eventually this led to more violence, for the temptation to extort more money was always strong. Also, the situation inevitably elicited jealousy and often led to intertribal violence with other, strategically less well-placed tribes or clans. 60 One important trait of the Afghans has been their flexibility in adapting to new military technology and tactics. This probably stems from their repeated exposure to invasion by the leading practitioners of warfare throughout history.

An analysis of how the war introduced or made unnaturally strong the factors that weakened the Mghan state and ruptured its ties to Mghan society will command our attention in chapters 3 and 4. With the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union, Mghanistan finds its geostrategic position still important, but for different reasons. No longer merely a buffer state, Mghanistan is now a crossroads between states that want and need trade, as both Iran and Pakistan engage in a struggle for access to Central Asia's mineral wealth and markets.

Later would-be conquerors should have taken heed. If Afghanistan has been marked by a history of invasion and conquest, no less has it suffered from almost continuous internal strife among the native peoples living in its remote mountain valleys. Although this conflict has occurred throughout Afghan history, it was always most pronounced during periods of respite from foreign intrusion. Indeed, in the face of invasion Afghans frequently set aside bitter, long-standing grievances and united to meet the common enemy.

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